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Author, Author

The ACPL 2012 author fair spotlights dozens of area writers

By Gloria Diaz

Fort Wayne Reader


Fort Wayne has received a lot of negative attention over the years—we're fat; we're dumb (according to Men's Health magazine, that hotbed of academia) and thanks to city officials putting the kibosh on naming the new government building the Harry Baals Government Center, we have no sense of humor.

But we can read. And we can definitely write — no fewer than forty authors from Fort Wayne and the surrounding area will convene in the great hall of the Allen County Public Library Saturday, November 3, for the 2012 Author Fair.

Carol Nahrwold, Manager of Reader's Services at the ACPL, says the fair has been held for the past couple years. The first year, two fairs were held. But Nahrwold and other staffers decided having just a fall-based festival, held during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) was enough.

The reason for putting on an event like this was efficiency. Authors have always contacted the library, wanting to do book signings, and Nahrwold wanted to accommodate them. However, with budget constraints, Nahrwold wanted a better way. Not wanting to turn anyone down, she searched for a way to bring authors and readers together. Some online research showed other libraries hosted author fairs and made it into a bigger event than if just one author was involved. “That's one way they could have authors come in, have their books available, and have a signing. It was a better bang for our buck,” says Nahrwold.

“The first year, we just limited it to Allen County authors, because we frankly didn't know how many authors lived in Allen County. And then, how many authors would come? And then the second year, I think we opened up to Indiana authors, and then a few more came. Now we pretty much said, 'anyone can come.'”

The library has forty reservations from authors, so far. There's every chance there will be more who will participate. Every year, the number of authors who participate has increased.

“It's a great opportunity for us to get to know local authors and then for people in the area to come in and actually meet people who write and have had books published and have accomplished that,” says Nahrwold.

In the past, panel discussions were held by authors. Nahrwold and Bessie Makris, Librarian for Reader's Services, are still ironing out the details as to what discussions will be taking place. Future author fairs may turn into either one-and-a-half or even a two day event, with workshops on various topics like epublishing, print on demand publishing, trying to get an agent, or swinging a book deal.

So what can readers expect? If the author has books, they will be for sale. Ten percent of the proceeds will go to Friends of the Library. The Bookmark will be handling some book sales for certain authors; and yes, The Bookmark takes debit cards. There's also an ATM in the cafe, for those who prefer cash. The variety of books include adult genres, including mystery, erotic fiction, poetry and non-fiction/memoir, to children's and young adult fiction. A few titles include Boris the Spider; A History of Lake James; Zombie Crusade, Fibromyalgia Basics: A Beginner's Guide; Always a Loser, Forever a Champion; Life of a Library Book; Me, Myself and Middle School; The Anatomist's Wife: A Lady Darby Mystery; and The Dog Who Owned a Photographer.

The library also nailed a scoop, of sorts. Anna Lee Huber, author of The Anatomist's Wife, is scheduled to have her book released November 6 from Berkeley, but the ACPL got permission to have it three days ahead of schedule.

“It's a historical mystery; a Lady Darby Mystery,” says Makris. “Her character is a widow who is visiting family in Scotland in the 19th century, as far as I know. Her husband was an anatomist, dissected corpses, so that's sort of frowned upon. But when something happens on this visit to her sister's house, she's asked to step in and use some of the expertise she picked up in her marriage, to investigate.”

Self-published authors will be well represented at the fair. They will answer questions about the process, such as publishers which are easy to work with, and ones that should be avoided. Karen Lenfestey, self-published A Sister's Promise, and it sold over 25,000 copies. And Amanda Hocking was rejected by every publisher she sent her work to. Not willing to give up, she published her ebooks on Amazon, sent her work to book bloggers to review, and a year later, she was a millionaire. Then she got a book deal.

Since November is also National Novel Writing Month, it's possible that some local writers will have a book done at the end of the month, and will be participating in next year's Author Fair. With the ease of publishing ebooks and print on demand technology, it's possible.

The ACPL 2012 Author Fair is Saturday, November 3, from noon to 4 p.m. at the main library. Authors will be selling books, and The Bookmark will also be selling books by authors. The Bookmark takes debit and credit cards, and there is an ATM in the cafe for those who need cash.

Authors were asked about aspects of writing and publishing. Here are a few of their answers:

John Baumgartner (Rory's Ghost; The Secret of the Stone Stairs; Like Losing Your Left Hand) on how hard was it to get an agent/publishing deal: “I have a file with 47 rejection letters from different publishers regarding different novels I submitted.”

Tibor Bierbaum (Our Walk With God) on the most difficult aspect of being a writer: “For me, is the proper use of the English language. I was born in Hungary, and I was not introduced to the English language until I was 17 years old. The grand difference between the two languages is so vast that I still consider myself a learner. Thank God for the computer (lol).”

Pati Chandler (Fibromyalgia Basics: A Beginner's Guide) on if she has an agent: “I found my second publisher without the help of an agent also. I participated in an Author’s Fair with nearly one hundred authors. I sold 10 copies of my book while there, but my biggest coup was collecting information from other authors.”

Curtis Crisler (Dreamist: A Mixed Genre Novel; Pulling Scabs; Tough Boy Sonatas) on if he considers himself a full-time writer: I'm not sure what you mean by full-time. I write constantly, and when I can, in conjunction with the above-mentioned obligations. As a professional creative writer, writing is part of my research. So in that aspect, I am a full-time writer, but as far as the hours go, those are a blurry mess.

Bill Deans (The House Blend: A Second Cup; Scratching on Parchment; I Hear Music in the Air) on the most difficult aspect of being a writer: “The discipline of writing every day.”

Drema Drudge (Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Magic of Mothers and Daughters) on how long she's been writing: “I have been writing since I was nine, I think. Once I discovered that my deceased grandfather was a poet, I longed for a way to feel connected to him, so I wrote what was probably the world's worst poem. Though I quickly decided poetry was not for me, I was hooked on writing.”

Patrick Giles (Rainwater: The Answer to the Pyramids) on ebooks and print on demand: “Anyone can have a book in print without the approval of a publisher. That's a revolution.”

Cheri Hallwood (Winter's First Snowflake, The Curious Polka-Dot Present, One Wish for Winifred Witch) on what genre(s) she prefers to writes in: “I love writing picture-books in lyrical rhyme for pre-school through 2nd. grade. However, I will be publishing my first Middle Grade chapter book, Frogwilla, this coming spring.”

Brian Hartz (Harley C. I.: A Detective Story) on how epublishing and print on demand will change the publishing industry: “It's opening doors for new voices and encouraging people to tell their stores, and those are good developments. The transition may be messy for a while, but eventually traditional publishers will find a way to work with the new wave of independent and self-published authors and the companies that specialize in these types of books.”

Anna Lee Huber (The Anatomist's Wife: A Lady Darby Mystery) on if she writes full time: “Yes. Writing full-time is a very solitary career. It can be very easy to begin doubting yourself. My editor doesn't read my manuscripts until they've gone through many drafts of edits and months of work, so I have to have confidence in what I'm doing.”

Naida Kirkpatrick (Adventure at Lookout Farm; Tixie of Celedon) on her first book: “My first book, Adventure at Lookout Farm is a mystery set on a farm that was at one time a part of the Underground Railroad. It involves a multiracial family.”

Marlene Luckadoo (Life of a Library Book) on the most difficult aspect of being a writer: “The writing part is easy, trying to find an agent or publisher is the difficult part. It takes a lot of time, research and determination. It is easy to get discouraged, but you can't give up.”

Bonnie Manning (The Dog Who Owned a Photographer, Adventures of Martha) on if she has an agent/publisher: “I do not have an agent. I am self-published. I have control over what I publish.”

Karen Pressler and John Bunker (Edgar Cayce & the Urantia Book, Guardians of the Lost Hall of Records) on how they think epublishing and print on demand will change the publishing industry: “I can forsee a much more complicated world for library catalogers, which is the area in which I work! But the opportunities to share ideas are expanded so much that it seems to open up a whole new world, where people can access what matters to them so much more effectively.”

Jeff Shaffer (Boris the Spider) on the first book he wrote: “The first book I wrote was a children's story about dogs.”

James Somers, and Flaim Cupp (A History of Lake James) on if they are self-published, and what kind of books they have: “We are self-published in the sense that we contracted for the printing only, an amount loaned by the Lake James Association. This is being paid back by the successful sale of the book. We purchased the rights to an ebook version but do not plan to utilize it until our supply of hardback books is exhausted.”

Ann Staadt (Moira at Hollystone House; Hollystone Hearts: Glenna) on her first book: “My first book was a fictionalized account of my ten years as a landlady . I had some wild experiences with rental houses and apartments.”

Bob Wolfe (School Days, Depression Years, My Time, Clara, The Little Girl From the Prairie) on if he writes full time: “I do not write full time—I write when I am inspired by a particular story line.”

Alexandra Moss Zannsis Categorically Speaking; Open Wound and Other Scars) on how long she's been writing: “I wrote my first poem when I was 12 -so that's a lotta years!”

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